As the lens irises and the credits roll on the last day of Star Wars Celebration, I have to say I had a good time. A great time sometimes, but the lines were totally crazy.
It really appalled me that the GenCon folks were greedy enough to overbook the convention as much as they did. There were way too many fans there to simply manage. Everytime anyone got on a line, they had to ask, “What is this line for?” There was just no organization possible with that many people. And the store line…that whole thing was disgusting. A seven hour wait to get a Celebration III action figure, that people were buying 4 of and just selling back to the vendors in the next hall over. Quite frankly, I really wish the organizers would have limited the figures to one per badge, or told the vendors in the hall that if they found out they were buying them they would kick them out. It’s not really a good reflection on GenCon to have such greed pressed into your face. At the very least, for those of us who wanted to enjoy the convention and not wait on store lines, they ought to offer us some way to get the figures online. Heck, if they just made a few thousand of them available online I wouldn’t care. I would sooner see the vendors get screwed for paying too much for those figures than see them be “exclusive” to people who attended the convention.
But enough of the bad….
I have to once again thank the volunteers. The 501st were always entertaining and did a good job making the lines work as much as they did. The fans were also amazingly nice. Everyone I met was friendly and the lines worked as well as they did partly because the people on them had the patience of Jedi. Even the Sith in the lines behaved well.
One thing I learned about the folks who make Star Wars movies — they love the fans. Everyone I saw there, from concept artist, to actor, to author, to special effects wizard, to George, really had a desire to share with the fans their desire to make something. To me, the whole conference was a little about letting your inner creative fire burst forth. The moments that really stood out most to me were the moments where the people being honored by these throngs of fans were up there saying, “Hey, this stuff isn’t so hard. The adventure of making something creative is a journey that’s scary and crazy, but it’s an adventure that is so worth doing.” George really summed it up nicely when he said, “I hope Star Wars inspires people to leave their uncle’s moisture farm, go on an adventure and do something dangerous.” Star Wars is about art, it’s about the next generation of creativity in film. It’s about the creativity of its fans, who dress in wonderful, authentic, hand-made costumes and make creatures and robots, films, art, and all manner of things inspired by the films. It’s about making that creative leap into the dangerous territory of creation and not being afraid.